For Coaches and Teachers, For Hosts and Facilitators, For Parents

Regional Meet Reflection

Congratulations to everyone for a great season! Even if your team isn’t going to move on to the State Meet on April 16, every coach, facilitator, host, and team deserves a pat on the back.

And we want to keep improving! If there is something about this Meet or this season you really liked and want to see more of, we want to hear from you. Was there anything that seemed too challenging or too easy for the age group? Do you like the series on Multiple Intelligences, or are you most interested in posts about the program itself? Let us know by contacting our Executive Director, Sarah Sheldon, at or 507-645-2560.

For Coaches and Teachers, For Hosts and Facilitators, For Kids, For Parents

Remember to Breathe

Every Meet so far this season has been practice. Sure, your teams have been doing the challenges and you’ve been calculating and reporting their scores, but the Round Robins are just the warm-up. We want participants to have a chance to hone their skills, learn to work together, and find a rhythm before they make it to “the main event,” and of course, to have a great time along the way.

If yours is a team that doesn’t generally practice, it isn’t too late to start. Winning isn’t everything, but taking a moment to reflect on how the season is going and focus on areas that can be improved could certainly increase your scores at Regionals this week. It is also a great chance to do some team-building and head into the competition with a renewed commitment to the team and working together to achieve a goal.

This is also a time that can make facilitators and hosts nervous. There is added pressure for things to go smoothly because now it “counts.” But those practice Meets weren’t just for the students, it was for you, as well! Remember to revisit the Host/Facilitator Checklist (QQ add link to document), double check that your equipment is working and the rooms are ready, and then relax. Even if this will be the last Meet for the majority of teams, it was your hard work that made this season possible, and you deserve a chance to enjoy your success.

Thank you for your contribution to the 2015/2016 season, and good luck to you and your students at Regionals!

For Coaches and Teachers, For Hosts and Facilitators, For Kids, For Parents

Round Robin 1 Reflection

Competition Kit
Competition Kit

Now that you have the first Round Robin under your belt, we’d love to hear from you!

Did you have a favorite event? Did you see a particularly good P.A.R.T.Y. in a box performance? Do you have any good photos of the action you’d like to share?

Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page, and send your photos to if you’d like to see them on the website or Facebook.

Next week you won’t see any posts on the blog or on Facebook as our team goes into holiday mode, but check back the week of December 28 for more brainstorming prompts and resources.

For Hosts and Facilitators

Ready, Set, Facilitate!

State 2015
State 2015

The first Round Robin is almost here, and we are so excited to really kick off this season with all of you! This is our first Meet “without a net,” though Peggy has been advising us and will continue to do so through this season. Even so, we have a few butterflies in our collective stomach, and I am sure we are not alone.

Whether you are a new coach or you have been hosting Meets and facilitating events for years it can always be a little nerve-wracking to start a new season after so many months away. Here are some helpful tips to make every Meet run smoothly.

Hosting a Meet

  • Double check all of your room reservations.
  • Ensure that you have the right staff on hand, which usually includes a janitor to unlock the rooms and help you troubleshoot.
  • Test your equipment. Make sure whatever system you are using for oral Face-Off is working properly and you have the right number of computers (and maybe a back-up) accounted for.
  • Choose which method you want to use for score-keeping. We have both an online version or an Excel document available under Keeping Score above. It is a good idea to download the Excel document as a back-up in case you lose your internet connection for some reason.
  • Make the proper signs. Do you have signs for the registration table, directional signs to help people get around, and a set of team letters to help organize the P.A.R.T.Y. in a box material distribution?
  • Make sure you have everything you need for each Mind Sprint. Count out the materials in each MS to ensure there are no surprises for your facilitators.
  • Send reminders. You don’t want to be caught short a volunteer because it slipped someone’s mind.
  • Don’t forget to have your volunteers check competitions kits.

Facilitating an Event

  • Read over your responsibilities in the Program Manual. It is a good idea to be familiar with the Student Responsibilities as well.
  • Once you receive your materials, make sure to read over the instructions and devise the easiest and most consistent way to keep score. Are you going to use hash marks? Do you want to keep score on a separate piece of paper and transfer the final scores to the score sheet, or write directly on it?
  • Remember, unless something is forbidden in the rules, it is more than likely okay. We want to encourage students to be creative!
  • Make sure you have a watch or cell phone handy to keep accurate time.
  • Be consistent! No team should gain an advantage over another by starting early, etc.
  • Watch for teams and individuals who exhibit exceptional creativity. We have a special Award Certificate for these people to honor ingenuity even if they don’t end up in first in place.

Have a wonderful time and good luck!

For Coaches and Teachers, For Hosts and Facilitators

Starting a New USAT Team in a Few Easy Steps

With only one month left to register we wanted provide some information about how to start a new team if you are interested in coaching or if you have a child whom you think would enjoy the program but is not yet part of a team.


Step 1: Identify 4-5 students, plus up to 2 alternates, in grades 5 through 8, to form a competition team. Students in grades 5 and 6 compete in the Challenger Division and grades 7 and 8 make up our X-Trainer Division.

It is fun to come up with a team name and, if funds are available, a team shirt/jersey for competitions! Some teams are made up students who are already friends, and some teams are created as a way to make new ones. It is a great experience for kids with a variety of talents and abilities. After all, there are many ways a person is gifted!

Step 2: Recruit another teacher or parent to serve as an additional coach or volunteer. Each team needs a Head Coach to successfully run a team, though additional coaches or adults (16 years or older) may be needed. Each team must provide at least one coach/volunteer to assist with the management of each Round Robin or Regional Meet.

Step 3: Register your team with the national US Academic Triathlon office by Nov. 13, 2015. Final payment is due by Dec. 1, 2015. To register, complete either the Xcel spreadsheet or the PDF registration forms on the Registration page. You can email or snail mail it to the contact information below:

US Academic Triathlon
2355 Fairview Ave N #335
Roseville MN, 55113

Step 4: Review the Program Manual, which will be sent electronically to first-time coaches upon successful registration, or can be downloaded here: Program Manual. Make sure you are familiar with all expectations of the Head Coach, additional coaches/volunteers, team members, and the competition process. During the course of your USAT season, you may be asked to host a meet at your school. The Program Manual and the Executive Director (Sarah Kirchner Sheldon) will be your essential resources for hosting your first USAT Meet.

Step 5: Create your team’s Competition Kit – this is your team’s box of essentials necessary to work through any problem thrown at them during a Meet. You can read more about the competition kit here.

Step 6: Practice! You can find practice problems on this site. For additional tips and practice ideas, follow us on Facebook.